Instructions for contributors

JAS Guidelines for Submission & Editorial Process

The Co-Editors of the Journal of American Studies welcome articles that not only offer a fresh, innovative, and original approach to understanding the diverse field/s of American Studies but which will also appeal to the wide-ranging interests of the scholars that make up the journal’s distinctive and international readership. Consequently, articles which we send out for external review will work to transcend disciplinary boundaries and, through their arguments, methodologies, and research practices, aim to embrace interdisciplinary scholarship in ways that engage and challenge readers from across a broad spectrum of American Studies. We strongly encourage the submission of pieces that take a bold approach in order to offer a significant reappraisal of the ways in which we understand the United States and competing constructions of “America.”

There are, of course, a number of different ways in which articles can communicate their findings in a manner that is likely to yield invaluable insights to scholars working in all areas of American Studies. An article with a very specific focus can undoubtedly be framed so that it has wider intellectual significance and interest. It could, for example, employ a new methodology that inspires subsequent work in related areas. Or it might bring together methodologies or insights from two different fields and apply them to a particular topic in a way that encourages scholarship of similar scope and innovation. It is, of course, possible that an article focused solely on a particular text or historical moment might have this broader significance. However, for consideration by JAS, each submission needs to be framed and shaped in such a way that takes it beyond a narrow case study and that gives it salience across the field/s.

We are eager to see submissions that span the entire time period of our subject area/s. While the vast majority of submissions we receive focus on the twentieth century, submissions from scholars working on earlier periods and comparatively across time-frames are welcome. Indeed, some of the most innovative articles that the journal has published during the past five years have been focused on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and it is our view that the journal’s output would be even richer if it attracted more submissions on topics that focused on earlier periods as well.

Given these criteria, the Co-Editors evaluate each manuscript that comes in very carefully. Each article submitted is read and assessed by the Co-Editors in terms of 1) its fit with the journal, 2) its compatibility with the journal’s focus on articles that will appeal to scholars across its readership, 3) its scope and originality, 4) the quality of research and writing and 5) (where applicable) not only its intellectual originality but its methodological innovation. Based on this initial evaluation, the Co-Editors decide, after careful and thoughtful consideration, whether to reject the manuscript (with feedback wherever possible) or send it for external peer review. Where articles are sent for external review, they are read by two international experts in the field who recommend one of the following: 1) that we accept it, 2) that it be revised and resubmitted, or 3) that we reject it. We ask our readers to use the “revise and resubmit” option sparingly, instructing them only to use it for those submissions that are close to being publishable and that do not require extensive further research or reconceptualization. If readers are split, we follow a careful and meticulous adjudication process whereby we send the article to a member of the journal’s editorial board. As a result of this intensive process, any article that is published in JAS has had the benefit of having been read by at least four people and often one or two more. It is our belief that this meticulous process ensures that the journal upholds the highest scholarly standards and results in a supportive and collaborative relationship between authors, Co-Editors and readers. Anyone who would like to submit an article to JAS is very welcome to contact the editors with a brief summary of their submission in the first instance as we would be delighted to offer further advice and support as appropriate.

Dr. Sinéad Moynihan and Dr. Nick Witham


Journal of American Studies

Editorial policy

The Journal of American Studies publishes works by scholars from all over the world on American literatures, history, politics, foreign relations, philosophy, art history, visual culture, economics, film, popular culture, geography, material culture and related subjects. We also welcome research topics covering fields related to American Studies and which include (in alphabetical order): African American Studies; African Diasporic Studies; America in the World Studies; Asian American Studies; Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies; Chinese American Studies; Cultural Studies; Globalisation Studies; Indigenous Studies; Hemispheric Studies; Slavery Studies; Transatlantic Studies; Transnational Studies. We are also keen to consider contributions that go beyond the normal confines of an academic article—whether these be Research Notes, States of the Field pieces, Thought Pieces, Forums and Roundtable Discussions, Exhibition Commentaries, Research Notes. Proposals on this front should be emailed directly to the Co-Editors.

Journal of American Studies welcomes proposals for special issues or special collections of essays within an issue. Proposing editors should initially submit a synopsis of a minimum of 1500 words detailing the academic significance of the collection, and 200 words abstracts of each of the essays as well as a one line contributor biography. These will be considered by the JASEditorial Team and the journal’s Editorial Board and then sent to readers for feedback. If the proposal passes the initial stage, JAS will then invite full essays, to be read and reviewed using our standard process for submissions. For more information, please contact the Co-Editors: Dr. Sinéad Moynihan and Dr. Nick Witham (full contact information provided below).

1. Submissions

Papers should be submitted online via the following website at: Authors who do not yet have an account on the online submission site will need to register before submitting a manuscript. If you are unsure about your login details or whether you have an account or not, please use the password help field on the login page. Do not create a new account if you are unsure.

If you experience any difficulties submitting your manuscript, please contact ScholarOne support at…

Any editorial correspondence should be addressed to the Co-Editors: Dr. Sinéad Moynihan and Dr. Nick Witham on the following email address:

Submission of an article is taken to imply that it is an original work of scholarship and has therefore not previously been published, and has not been submitted for publication elsewhere. Authors of articles published in the journal assign copyright to Cambridge University Press and British Association for American Studies (with certain rights reserved) and will receive a copyright assignment form for signature on acceptance of your paper.

Contributors are responsible for obtaining permission to reproduce any material in which they do not own copyright, to be used in both print and electronic media and as regards images rights and high resolution files, and for ensuring that the appropriate acknowledgements are included in their manuscript.

Editorial correspondence relating to book reviews should be sent to the following address: Dr Zalfa Feghali, School of Arts, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester LE1 7RH, U.K. Email:

2. Manuscript preparation

Articles should not exceed 8,000 words (excluding footnotes) OR 12,000 words (including footnotes).

Manuscripts should be submitted via the online submission system at Authors should remove their name from the manuscript and should ensure that their manuscript is fully anonymised. For this reason, biographical notes and acknowledgements—see below for further details—should NOT be included until an article has been accepted for publication and ONLY at the stage immediately prior to production. Authors should also make sure that any tracked changes on the file have been removed.

File names should be of the type AMSauthorsurname.doc or .rtf for ease of identification. Diagrams, maps, and illustrations should be made into an eps file or a tif file and the file name should be AMSauthorsurname1.eps or .tif (where the number is the figure number) – please see below for further information regarding technical specifications. If you request colour figures in the printed version, you will be contacted by CCC-Rightslink who are acting on our behalf to collect Author Charges. Please follow their instructions in order to avoid any delay in the publication of your article.

Contributors should keep one copy of the typescript for correcting proofs.

Open Access Policies: Please visit Open Access Publishing at Cambridge for information on our open access policies, compliance with major finding bodies, and guidelines on depositing your manuscript in an institutional repository.

3. Text preparation

Spelling and punctuation may conform either to British or American usage, providing it is consistent throughout. In either case quotation should follow the style of the original.

Use -ize (as in organize), connection, enquiry, judgement, focussed, role; elite, regime (without accents), but communiqué.

English Language Editing Services: Authors, particularly those whose first language is not English, may wish to have their English-language manuscripts checked by a native speaker before submission. This is optional, but may help to ensure that the academic content of the paper is fully understood by the editor and any reviewers. We list a number of third-party services specialising in language editing and / or translation, and suggest that authors contact as appropriate. Please see the Language Services page for more information. Please note that the use of any of these services is voluntary, and at the author’s own expense. Use of these services does not guarantee that the manuscript will be accepted for publication, nor does it restrict the author to submitting to a Cambridge published journal.

Quotations: Long quotations (i.e., of 50 words or more) will be set apart in smaller type, without quotation marks. They should also be indicated on the typescript. Shorter quotations will be set in the text, with double quotations within quotations, use single inside double.

Punctuation: All commas and periods ending quotations should appear inside the quotation marks; other punctuation goes outside unless it is actually part of the matter quoted.

But: Did the sun never shine on “a cause of greater worth”?

Ellipsis within a sentence should be indicated by three … spaced periods. Ellipsis at the end of a sentence should be indicated by three spaced periods following the sentence period, i.e. four periods in all.

Indentation: The first line of articles and of sections within articles and of reviews should not be indented. All other paragraphs begin with indentation.

Dates: 13 January 1976 (but 13 Jan. in footnotes); March 1978; 1920s; 1965-68; 1904-08 (except in headings: 1771-1773); seventeenth century; always abbreviate months in footnotes.

Figures: Spell one to ninety-nine in text, except e.g. 75 voted for, 39 against, and 15 abstained. Spell only one to nine in footnotes. 15 percent (but use % in footnotes).

Abbreviations: Mr., Dr., Jr., Sr. (as in Richard Henry Dana, Sr.); but USA, USSR, UN, NATO, ACLS, DABPMLA (without periods). Ibid., et al., etc., loc. cit. (Latin with periods).

Tables: Use space rather than vertical rules, unless the latter are absolutely essential sources and notes should appear immediately below each table.

Footnotesshould be used sparingly: in general, to give sources of direct quotations, references to main authorities on disputable questions, and evidence relied on for a new or unusual conclusion. They should be numbered consecutively.

Capitalization: southern, northern, southerner, northerner, governor, President of the United States, South, North, Midwest.

Citations should wherever possible be to authoritative editions rather than to paperback reprints of no textual authority.

Books should be cited complete with publisher’s name:

Mark M. Smith, The Smell of Battle, the Taste of Siege: A Sensory History of the Civil War (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), 52-87

Emily Rosenberg and Shannon Fitzpatrick, eds., Body and Nation: The Global Realm of U.S. Body Politics in the Twentieth Century (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014)

John W. Blassingame, ed., The Frederick Douglass Papers: Series 1: Speeches, Debates and Interviews, 1864-80 Volume 4 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1991)

Caroline Levander, Where is American Literature? (Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2013)

Subsequent citations should be indicated thus:

Immediately following: Ibid., 47.

Within the next ten footnotes: Levander, Where is American Fiction…, 271-78

Avoid op. cit.

Journals should be cited as follows:

Daniel Matlin, “Who Speaks for Harlem? Kenneth B. Clark, Albert Murray and the Controversies of Black Urban Life,” Journal of American Studies Volume 46, No 4 (November 2012), 875-894

Avoid Roman numerals. Indicate volume numbers by italicising, thus: 64

Vol. No. Ch. Pt. all cap.

Page numbers: 152-55, 113-257, 1365-69

Abbreviations to be italic, e.g. Journal of American History hereafter abbreviated to JAH.

Weekly magazines

“Who controls the Democratic Party?” Time, 19 Sept. 1975, 19-24


Norman Mailer, “Reflections on James Baldwin’s ‘Apocalypse'”, New York Times, 9 Oct. 1968, 23.

Abstracts and Author Biographical note:

Each article should have an abstract, of not more than 100 words in which authors summarise core aspects of their intellectual argument aimed not only at a specialist but also a general reader. This should not include material that is copied and pasted from the introduction or elsewhere in the article; it should, instead, be a discrete piece of writing.

A brief biographical note about the author for the foot of the final page should also be included. This should be no longer than 200 words, and should include present position, any notable publications you have previously published, and, if relevant, any acknowledgements that you wish to make.

4. Images Preparation (as applicable)

Contributors are responsible for obtaining high resolution files and permission to reproduce any visual material – maps; diagrams; artwork etc – in which they do not own copyright, to be used in both print and electronic media, and for ensuring that the appropriate acknowledgements are included in their manuscript.

The technical specifications are as follows:

Line artwork (graphs) should be saved at 1200dpi and saved as TIFF or EPS files. Halftones (photographs) should be saved at 300dpi and ideally saved as TIFF files. Combination images should be supplied in TIFF (.tif) or vector EPS (.eps) format, saved at a minimum resolution of 600dpi. All figures must include an accompanying figure legend. Photographs should include reference to sources. Figure legends to be included at the end of the Word document after the references. All figures must be cited in the text. Figures must be supplied at approximately the size of reproduction (maximum 120mm x160mm). The print version of Journal of American Studies does not support colour figures, therefore please indicate if you wish colour figures to be published online in colour. Images downloaded from the internet tend to be low resolution, that is 72 or 96dpi, meaning that they will not provide adequate quality when printed. If you wish to use an image which appears on a website, please contact the site’s administrator, or the creator of the image, and obtain a copy of the high resolution original. Authors who wish to submit figures as supplementary materials should contact the Editors at the contact information provided above.

For more information, please refer to the Artwork Guide.

5. Proofs

Typographical or factual errors only may be changed at proof stage. The publisher reserves the right to charge authors for correction of non-typographical errors.

6. Offprints

Authors will receive a PDF file of their article upon publication.

Last updated March 2019